Fix Slow EPG on Samsung DVD-SH871M and DVD-SH875M

The Samsung DVD-SH871M
The Samsung DVD-SH871M

EDIT: See comments from David for an even newer firmware!

I recently came across a Samsung DVD-SH871M that was unusable due to the EPG and several other menu features being incredibly slow to respond to the remote. I have no idea what Samsung were thinking of when they released this player with completely unusable firmware… but there is a fix.

A quick google showed that this was a common problem and the solution was to upgrade the firmware. The new firmware is supposed to be available from Samsung’s website, but there is only a manual listed for the DVD-SH871M. However, it turns out that the DVD-SH875M, for which there is a firmware update listed, uses exactly the same firmware. To the point that when performing the upgrade, you will see that the old (i.e. the shipped) firmware contains the SH875M’s name in its version number.

So, the solution is a simple one, download the DVD-SH875M’s firmware from here:

I will also mirror the file here, unless Samsung request I remove it:

Then unzip the file, burn it to a cd/dvd/cdrw/dvdrw, then put the disc in the DVD-SH871M. The player will load for a bit, then ask you if you’d like to upgrade the firmware. Select “Yes”, then go and make a cup of tea (the process takes about 6-8minutes).

Once finished the player will eject the disc automatically, remove it et voilà, the process is complete.

Going Green for Cancer Research UK

On Saturday 13th June 2009 I had my hair dyed lime green to raise money for Cancer Research UK. We’ve already manage to beat our target of £200, but any more donations would be very gratefully received! You can donate online here: Or, in person, by giving cash/cheques to myself, Claire, or Fiona.

To all those who have already donated, thank you! So far we’ve raised a massive £256.96 with some more promised! Particular thanks to Claire and Fiona for actually making this happen (though please don’t be fooled into thinking I won’t get revenge in some form).

Many of you stipulated that in exchange for a donation, I had to provide pictures/videos… so here they are: enjoy!

The Long One:

The Final Result:


[nggallery id=2]

4OD for Linux has finally arrived!

It’s not quite 4OD, it’s 4OD catch-up, but as far as I’m aware the only difference is the inability to watch archived shows, such as old episodes of Green Wing or Black Books… but maybe in time this will become a reality too.

So what has prompted this new service? I’d like to think demand from mac and Linux users, but who knows. The shift from Microsoft’s WMP to Adobe’s flash player has certainly made the whole thing more accessible though. Whilst it would be nice to have a completely FOSS solution, this is unrealistic at present and I think Channel 4 should be applauded for taking steps to make life easier for non-windows users.

IOP Journal of Physics D, Lyx and Ubuntu

If you’re getting an error when you try to produce a pdf, or any other output from Lyx using the built in Journal of Physics D style, then try the following:

Download the following file to your home directory:

Then run the following commands:

sudo tar zxvf iop.tar.gz -C /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex

sudo texhash

Voilà! Don’t even have to restart Lyx 🙂

Midisport 2×2 in Ubuntu

There has been a midisport-firmware package in Ubuntu for as long as I can remember… and it’s been broken for as long as I care to remember. Today though, it has been fixed! I’m not sure if this will be backported or not, but if you’re using Jaunty Jackelope all you have to do to get your midisport to work is “sudo apt-get install midisport-firmware” then plug it in!

The bug report detailing why this doesn’t work in previous versions can be found here:

Lex Progress Update

There has been some major development of, however, the offline version of Lex hasn’t received much attention for the last few months. Unfortunately I’ve had to put my degree first for the time being, but I do expect to get a little bit of work done on both online and offline components in my Easter holidays… I do have exams straight afterwards though 🙁

I am also hoping to do an internship this coming summer, but as that should be fairly 9-5-esque I can’t foresee that slowing development too much.

In terms of the online version, I’ll be looking for beta testers soon, the search component is functional, but requires some work still, the submission component is fully functional and the review component has made significant progress.

Dell Mini 9 (and how to fix the keyboard!)

Dell Mini 9
Dell Mini 9

I bought a Dell Mini 9 from Tesco Direct about two weeks ago now, unfortunately, the battery was dead when it arrived, but after a quick chat to Dell the laptop was collected from my house the next day and redelivered with a new battery and a new motherboard the next week.

Since then I have been VERY impressed with it. However, the version of Ubuntu that came pre-installed is a specially customised version of Hardy Heron 8.04, I really need at least 8.10 so that I can use LyX across all my machines properly. Installing 8.10 was easy and everything except the sound worked out of the box. To fix the sound a single line had to be added to a config file (easily searchable on google).

The problem came, however, when I tried to use LyX and my “” kay didn’t work. I tried all the other keys on the keyboard and discovered that [ and ] were also non-functional.

My inital assumption was that I needed to specify some special dell keyboard layout in xorg.conf and as two of my friends also have Mini 9s running the default pre-installed version of Ubuntu I thought this would be quite easy to find… Their xorg.conf files were very standard though, nothing  Dell specific at all.

Finally, after much searching, I found this:
Setting keyboard matrix:
1. Turn off your computer.
2. If your computer is connected to the ac adapter, disconnect the ac adapter from the computer.
3. Press and hold <Fn><K>.
4. Connect the ac adapter to the computer (assuming that the AC adapter is already plugged into an electrical outlet).
5. Release the key combination.

It worked! This came from someone who had replaced the keyboard and was having the same issue as me, I have not read of anyone who has instaloled 8.10 and had the same issue. I can only assume that my issue came about because either, my keyboard was also replaced when it went in for repair, or, I did upgrade the BIOS to A04 before installing 8.10,  so perhaps that had something to do with it…

I could definitely recommend the Mini 9, it is perfectly capable of full screen iPlayer playback, the battery life is around 4-6 hours and the keyboard, though small, is actually very pleasent to work with.